Painted Bride Quarterly’s Slush Pile

Episode 68: Rooftops and Buttered Popcorn

May 22, 2019

It was a blustery day in Philadelphia when this podcast was recorded. That is how we learned that Tim is one of the few people who can say that the wind works for his hair.

To add to this trying weather, most of the crew was suffering from a terrible case of jet lag, as they had just come back from AWP's conference in Portland, Oregon.

After some light reminiscing about rooftops and candy in Portland, it was time to get into the poems! Get your buttered popcorn ready for the first piece written by Erin Kae, "Q&A: (Of World's Anatomy At The End)." This one opened the way for one interpretation after the other. However, the most important question remained: What would you do if you knew the world was about to end?

The next piece was by Amy Bilodeau. Due to its smart wording, "(It’s warm here inside the fierce)" many of the gang liked it before even trying to fully understand it. It just had that pa-zazz, you do not see too often in the world of poetry. Kathleen teased that she was stealing it for the title of her next album. (Even funnier if you ever heard Kathleen sing…) Also, Marion thought that the color schemes of this poem resembled that of Reginald Shepard's "You, Therefore." Do you agree?


Out of curiosity: What's your definition of fierce?


Somehow, the conversation took a complete one-eighty and went back around to Tim's hair, or should I say the lack thereof. Can't a balding man just live in peace around here? We keep him around for so many reasons, one of them being his ability to make nutball connections, like Amy’s poems reminding him of Ginger Baker, the drummer from CREEM.


Once we were able to get back into discussion mode, the second poem, "(The morning makes me nervous)" led to a discussion on the mysteries behind sleep. Tim pointed out how "everything changes at night" as the right brain takes charge and causes humans to show their true colors. Remember to ask your loved ones or wannabe’s to reveal their secrets once the sun goes down.

Today's recommendation is brought to you by Marion. She suggests that you all read "The Carrying" by a Ada Limón, a long-time friend of PBQ. Even better, finish it in one sitting and if possible, on a plane with a glass of champagne, or on a rooftop in Oregon. Whatever butters your popcorn!






True/False:     It is required that the Earth crack open, burst

           its yolk before the end. Is there a certain sound you need

           to hear? An anguish of language melted down inaudible—or fevered

           droning spread over all corners?


True/True:      Disregard the temperature, it’s only

           going to get worse. You avoid the sun, bed

           into the mantle, mark out a spot for all

           to see you have had this dance before—licked

           flames off old boxing gloves & waltzed

           into fractured fault line breach.


False/False:     There was the proverbial flash/bang & then

            everyone was served popcorn while waiting

            for it to be their turn. Of course it was buttered, extra

            buttered—this is the end of the world.


False/True:     You thought it would be much grander;

            there’d be more splendor in this. Are you really putting hope

            into structural integrity at a time like this? Act smart;

            call it a crevasse—that sounds scientific enough.

            If all else fails remember the real estate market

            for lava is looking pretty good right now.


You/You:        In the movie-version of what happened

         you’ll call it Fissure Island.

         How much more literal a name do you need? Toe

         around it all you want, but at the end, the only way off

         this rocky body is down. Bring a shovel

         & your best dancing shoes.


Born and raised outside of Rochester, NY, Erin Kae is a proud graduate of SUNY Geneseo. Her poetry has been featured in Vinyl, Sonora Review, Crab Fat Magazine, andFugue among others. She was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Aster(ix) Journal, and was selected as a finalist for the 2017 Locked Horn Press Publication Prize for their issue Read Water: An Anthology, 2019. Her first poetry chapbook, Grasp This Salt, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in 2019. She currently resides in Somerville, Massachusetts. 


(It’s warm here inside the fierce)


It’s warm here inside the fierce
Blithe belly of the beloved

The wedding was entirely gray
The way
I like it

There were guests
A cold colorful wind
Though we didn’t want them

The ring is gray on the
Gray mottled counter and the floor
Also gray
The walls etc

The tender sky...
You can imagine




(The morning makes me nervous)


The morning makes me nervous
Some days
Until the music starts

Being jumpy isn’t dancing
I guess

But maybe I’m playing the strings so beautifully eerie
In my head
I’m moving me with it

Coffee helps and saying
Quiet to all the no ones

When the bold nights fight for me
I’m not certain
Who to root for

I know what a forest looks like
The inside of the beloved’s mouth
Shadows and pale reds and a threat

The dogs inevitably want back in
The coffee being cold by the last
Drink of it




(I am definitely getting younger)


I am definitely getting younger
I know because
Laughing inappropriately
And uniform of twelve year old boy
I haven’t decided what will happen
When I’m born
But if it’s something good
You can believe
I will stuff my blue pockets
Grin dumbly


One last thing Slushies: The final piece by Amy Bilodeau, "(I am definitely getting younger)" was voted YES!


Amy Bilodeau's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Connotation PressDREGINALDDMQ ReviewRHINO (runner-up for the Editor's Prize), Two Hawks Quarterly, and others. Her full-length manuscript was a finalist for the Four Way Books Levis Prize in Poetry, and her chapbook manuscript was a semi-finalist in the Black Lawrence Black River Chapbook Competition. Her work has also been nominated for inclusion in Best Small Fictions. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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